Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

June 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

Seeking maturity in Christ is an admirable desire, but most people fail to recognize that following Jesus will not be an easy thing to accomplish in this sinful, fallen world. The simple fact that you profess a faith in Jesus marks you as a target in the eyes of the enemy and in the eyes of the world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

If professing a faith in Jesus instantly means that the world hates you, then it is important to understand that there will be suffering because of your faith in Jesus and at the hands of the world.

Are you ready?

Are you facing suffering in this world? Perhaps you embrace the things of this world and, as a result, the world embraces you in return. Is this what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are called to be in the world, but not of it. What we embrace is Jesus. It is impossible to embrace the grace and mercy that is given through Jesus and still cling to the sinful, fallen nature of this world. Accepting Jesus means turning your back on the world. Accepting Jesus means declaring war on sin and the enemy. If you declare war, you can’t expect to sit on the sidelines and only observe! You are called to be a faithful soldier of Christ.

You have chosen a side!

Is a soldier who is going into battle the same soldier who comes out of that battle? There will be sufferings. There will be things that are experienced when facing the enemy that will develop perseverance, character and hope. It is crucial to never forget that the battle has already been won, even though we have to face things that will cause suffering. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and strive to develop these characteristics.

Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

April 10, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
(1 Peter 4:16 (NIV))

Have you ever faced anything simply because you are a believer in Jesus?

Perhaps I should ask if you have ever been in a situation where you would have suffered if it was known that you were a Christian? Think about that for a moment as you answer the following. Did you withhold the fact that you were a Christian or did you deny that you were a Christian? There is a difference! Regardless of how you handled yourself in that situation, do you regret not standing up and identifying as a follower of Jesus? Do you feel that you have abandoned Jesus through your actions and words?

Consider Peter.

He denied Jesus three times during the events between Jesus being arrested and being taken to Pilate. All of us can put ourselves into the events and justify the actions that Peter took that night. In all honesty, it is not told in detail how Peter truly felt. We can only imagine what Peter was facing within himself as these events transpired and afterward. What we do know is that after the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter was able to put his shame behind him and accept the grace that Jesus was extending to him.

Think about that!

Peter denied Jesus three times. He had seen Jesus beaten so badly that He was not recognizable. Peter had seen Jesus crucified, dead and buried. The guilt of his denial of Jesus must have been unbearable. Even after Jesus arose, what was Peter thinking? Was he thinking that Jesus would never forgive him for what he had done? Was Peter thinking that he had committed something so bad that he would be condemned to suffer for all eternity?

Grace is amazing!

What Peter did discover is that Jesus forgave him. Three times he was asked if He loved Jesus and three times he responded that he did. I can almost imagine that with each response Peter gave Jesus, the burden of guilt was being lifted until it was completely gone!

That is what Jesus does! He lifts the burden of guilt and replaces that burden with a joy that comes from knowing that all of your sins are forgiven! There is nothing greater to give thanks for.

Are you thankful to be called a Christian?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you turned your troubles over to Jesus?

March 22, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

What do you think of when you hear the word “trouble?” Perhaps it makes more sense to you to use the word “tribulation” instead. Perhaps you like to cut to the chase and you have come to the realization that trouble usually implies suffering and you choose to use the word “suffer” instead of the word “trouble.” The following three translations are good examples of word choice, but they all have the same underlying meaning, and that is that while we, as followers of Jesus, are alive and in this world, we will be faced with things because we are followers of Jesus. Though the word choices are different, they also all have the assurance that placing our faith in Jesus is the only way to overcome those troubles.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NASB))

“I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.”
(John 16:33 (CEVDC))

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (KJV))

Just as some people will say “Good morning,” others will simply say “Mornin'” or even “Hi!” It is the intent, it is the true meaning behind the words that we must understand. With that said, the message in John 16:33 boils down to this. If we rely on our own actions and our own abilities in this world, we will face things that will test our faith. They will test our very peace of mind. Focus on Jesus and let Him deal with the things of this world. Turn over your troubles, your trials, your tribulations and you suffering to the Lord of all creation. He is bigger than any problems that you will face.

Take a good, long look at your life!

Have you turned your troubles over to Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

March 21, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
(John 17:1-5 (NIV))

We are rapidly coming up on Easter, the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

I am thankful for the resurrection! I am thankful for the defeat of death that the resurrection brought, yet, we, as the Body of Christ, have glossed over the pain and suffering that Jesus endured before and during the crucifixion.

Jesus knew exactly what was coming!

We see images from reenactments of the passion, yet, we still don’t truly understand what He went through in order to redeem us, to bring us salvation from sin and death.

Have you ever caught your arm in the thorns of a rose or bush? Did it draw blood? It probably hurt. Now, think of the flesh being ripped from your back with each lashing of the scourge. Think of the crown of thorns being driven into your head. In comparison to what you have experienced, can you even comprehend the pain that Jesus endured so that you could claim salvation?

Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer? It hurts. In comparison, can you imagine the pain that Jesus endured when they drove the nails into and through his hands and feet?

Jesus knew that all of this, and much more, was waiting for Him. He willingly went through all of this just so that each of us could be offered grace and mercy through His shed blood. The price that Jesus paid was far greater than many of us can even imagine, yet, He paid it willingly. I want you to stop and think about the passion. I want you to stop and think about the pain. I want you to stop and think about the love that drove Him to the cross.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Do you truly understand the love that He has for us?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Jesus is forever my hope and my strength!

November 25, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.
(1 Peter 3:14 (NIV))

With the events that are going on in the world, and the so called experts saying that we are on the verge of World War III, are you prepared to do what is right in the eyes of God?

I don’t want to come across as an alarmist, but as the Body of Christ, we should be aware of the things that are going on in this world and their relationship to God’s Word. I know that I have been saying that things are getting worse in the world for quite some time. I believe that now more than ever. I also believe that things will get far worse than they are. Still, I do not fear what the world has to throw at me. My strength is in Jesus! My hope is in Jesus! I pray that I have the physical strength and the strength of character to always proclaim that Jesus is Lord!

I know that no one wants to suffer, but we must remember the words that Jesus spoke.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Jesus also told us that we should expect to encounter the same treatment as He was given, both good and bad.

Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 5:20 (NIV))

We have so much to pray for with the current state of the world, but we also have so much to be thankful for as well. God will not forsake those who love Him. When things get bad, look to the heavens and call upon the name of the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who is worthy of your praise?

April 28, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds – his name is the Lord – and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
(Psalms 68:4-5 (NIV))

All things good are from God. He is Creator. He is Father. He is Savior.

If we cannot praise God, then we have nothing to praise in our lives! God has given us life. He has given us breathe. He has given us everything that we know as good. Even when we rebelled against His goodness, He remained faithful. Even when we turned from Him and sought after other gods, He remained there patiently waiting for the right moment to call us back to Him in repentance.

He gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ, as a personal atonement for our sins. Just as the prodigal son was welcomed with open arms when he returned to his senses and to his father, God welcomes us with open arms when we turn to Him through Jesus. Jesus came to bring forgiveness so that we could be reconciled to God the Father. If this is not worthy of praise, then nothing else ever will be. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us when we were still sinners and only worthy of death. Jesus came to pay the ultimate price so that we would not have to.

Picture the cross and the agony of the crucifixion. Is that something that you would want to go through? Now, imagine an eternity of pain and suffering just like that. Jesus suffered for us so that we would not have to suffer. Through His suffering, we are cleansed and allowed grace and mercy. That is something to shout to the top of the mountains about!

Do you show praise and gratitude for your salvation? Sing it out so that those whom you see will know that you belong to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

April 27, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
(2 Timothy 1:8-10 (NIV))

Are you ashamed to testify about Jesus?

Are you willing to suffer for the Gospel?

Chances are very good that if you are ashamed of Jesus, then you will not be willing to suffer for the Gospel. Let’s face the truth. Are you even willing to tell someone about Jesus or do you change who you are depending on who you are around?

Faith in Jesus is not something that can be turned off and on to suit your needs. In fact, I would venture to say that this is not a true faith at all. We already know what will happen if we deny Jesus before men.

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

That group of words should be enough of a reason to stand firm in your faith. It should be enough of a reason to make you be consistent in testifying about Jesus. Sadly enough, though, there are many people who will change their story depending on whom they are around.

Did Paul waiver in his faith? Think about all of the times that he was stoned or ran out of town because of his faith in preaching the Gospel. Think about the house arrests and the imprisonments. Think about his martyrdom. Paul did not waiver in his faith. He did not change depending on who he was around even though there were times, from a physical human perspective, where it could have benefited him.

How would God have treated Paul if he had wavered? How would the church that grew from his faith look today if Paul had wavered?

I honestly don’t think that we will see too many more years pass before we see Jesus return for His bride. With this in mind, what do you think that the members of the Body of Christ in your circle of influence would look like if your influence is all they see and they see that you are ashamed of the Gospel?

Your testimony matters! Your story matters! Your faith matters!

If you are the only representative of Jesus that people will see, what will be their impression of the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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